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George Burns

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Sir George Burns (1795–1890), 1st Baronet was a Scottish shipping magnate.[1]

1795 December 10th. Born in Glasgow, the youngest of four sons of the Revd Dr John Burns (1744–1839) and his wife, Elizabeth, née Stevenson.

Unlike their brothers George and his brother James (1789-1871) gave their attention to trade.

1818 the 2 brothers set up as general merchants in Glasgow

1822 George married Jane Cleland of Glasgow. They had seven children, of whom only two sons survived.

1824 the brothers went into business with Hugh Mathie of Liverpool to establish a small shipping line of six sailing vessels trading between Glasgow and Liverpool.

Steamers soon replaced the sailings ships

1830 the firm G. and J. Burns in Glasgow joined with two Liverpool-based Scots, David and Charles MacIver to form the Glasgow Steam Packet Co to develop steamer services between Glasgow, Liverpool, Belfast and Londonderry.

J. & G. Burns set up the regular steamer service to the Inner and Outer Hebrides. This was sold to David Hutcheson and Co in 1851, and by the mid-1870s, it formed the basis of David MacBrayne's company, which today operates as Caledonian MacBrayne across the west coast of Scotland.

1839 When Samuel Cunard was seeking partners, and financial support, to develop a transatlantic steamer service to compete for the Admiralty's contract to carry the American mails, Robert Napier introduced him to George Burns. Burns raised £270,000 in subscriptions to back the tender. The application succeeded and the contract was signed by Burns, Samuel Cunard and David MacIver to form the British and North American Royal Mail Steam Packet Co.

Burns was party to the consolidation of a number of companies, including the transformation of the British and North American Royal Mail Steam Packet Co into the Cunard Steam Ship Co.

Burns retired to Wemyss Bay in Renfrewshire (Inverclyde). He was made a baronet at age 94 in 1889, the oldest ever recipient of the award. A devout Episcopalian, Edwin Hodder wrote a hagiography of Burns, and J.J. Burnet's Inverclyde Church was instituted in the memory of Burns and his wife. John Burns (1829-1901), his eldest son, succeeded him in the baronetcy, became head of the Cunard Company and was created a peer, under the title of Baron Inverclyde, in 1897

1890 June 2nd. Died

See Also


Sources of Information

  • [1] Wikipedia
  • Biography of Sir George Burns, ODNB